US air raids on Al-Qaeda kill 33 in Yemen
14:29 10 MAR 2012
(AGI) Sana'a - At least 33 people have died and 55 injured in two US air raids on Al-Qaeda strongholds in the Al-Bayda mountains. The area is south of the capital Sana'a, in Abyane Province in Southern Yemen. Local security sources say the victims were young recruits, taken by surprise at supper in a training camp. Witnesses say that the raids carried out on Al-Makhnaq, Al-Dooqi and Al-Mahmdud, three villages in the west of Al-Bayda, went on for at least three hours. Another local witness said that prior to the raid, dozens of armed militia arrived on board pickups loaded with weapons and munitions. In January some thousand Islamic Ansar Al-Sharia militants launched a huge offensive against the city of Rada in Al-Bayda Province, taking control and thus establishing themselves roughly 200 kilometres from Sana'a, the closest they have ever got. They then fled Rada 9 days later after extreme pressure from the powerful local tribal leaders. Taking advantage of the wave of protest against former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Aqap Jihadists from the group formed in 2009 by the merger of the Saudi and Yemeni arms of Al-Qaeda, took refuge in many of Yemen's southern Provinces, particularly in Zinjibar.
Over the last few years, the Pentagon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on training special Yemeni forces to combat the Islamic extremists. Despite the loss of two long-standing leaders, Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, killed in September during a CIA drone attack and Muhammad Al-Hanq, who died of an illness a few days ago, the terrorist organisation has intensified its attacks, especially in the wake of(agi) the election of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hado, who has promised to wage a bitter war on the extremists. Over a hundred soldiers have been killed in fighting between troops and Al-Qaeda militia in the last week alone. . .